Definitions for WHATʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word WHAT

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

what*ʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət(pron.)

  1. (used interrogatively as a request for specific information):

    What is the matter?

    Category: Function Word

  2. (used interrogatively to inquire about the character, occupation, etc., of a person):

    What does he do?

    Category: Function Word

  3. (used interrogatively to inquire as to the origin, identity, etc., of something):

    What are those birds?

    Category: Function Word

  4. (used interrogatively to inquire as to the worth, usefulness, force, or importance of something):

    What is wealth without friends?

    Category: Function Word

  5. (used interrogatively to request a repetition of words or information not fully understood, usu. used in elliptical constructions):

    You need what?

    Category: Function Word

  6. (used interrogatively to inquire the reason or purpose of something, usu. used in elliptical constructions):

    What of it?

    Category: Function Word

  7. how much?:

    What does it cost?

    Category: Function Word

  8. (used relatively to indicate that which):

    I will send what was promised.

    Category: Function Word

  9. whatever; anything that:

    Come what may.

    Category: Function Word

  10. the kind of thing or person that:

    She said just what I was expecting.

    Category: Function Word

  11. as much as; as many as:

    We should each give what we can.

    Category: Function Word

  12. the thing or fact that (used in parenthetic clauses):

    He went to the meeting and, what was worse, insisted on speaking.

    Category: Function Word

  13. (used to indicate more to follow, additional possibilities, alternatives, etc.):

    You know what?

    Category: Function Word

  14. (used as an intensifier in exclamatory phrases, often fol. by an indefinite article):

    What luck! What an idea!

    Category: Function Word

  15. Brit. don't you agree?:

    An unusual chap, what?

    Category: Function Word, British

  16. Nonstandard. that; which; who:

    She's the one what told me.

    Category: Function Word, Status (usage)

  17. (n.)the true nature or identity of something, or the sum of its characteristics:

    the whats and hows of crop rotation.

  18. (adj.)(used interrogatively before nouns):

    What clothes shall I pack?

  19. whatever:

    Take what supplies you need.

  20. (adv.)to what extent or degree? how much?:

    What does it matter?

  21. (used to introduce a prepositional phrase beginning with with):

    What with storms and all, their return was delayed.

  22. (interj.)(used in exclamatory expressions, often fol. by a question):

    What, no kiss?

  23. (conj.)Older Use. as much as; as far as:

    He helps me what he can.

    Category: Function Word, Status (usage)

Idioms for what:

  1. but what,Informal. but that:

    Who knows but what the sun may still shine.

    Category: Function Word, Informal, Idiom

  2. so what, (an expression of disinterest, disinclination, or contempt.)

    Category: Function Word, Informal, Idiom

  3. what for, why: a punishment or scolding:

    What are you doing that for?

    My mother will give me what for if I come home late again.

    Category: Function Word, Idiom

  4. what have you, other things of the same kind; so forth:

    money, jewels, and what have you.

    Category: Function Word, Idiom

  5. what if, what would be the outcome if; suppose that:

    What if we get lost?

    Category: Function Word, Idiom

  6. what it takes, whatever characteristics or aids will insure one's success, as intelligence, talent, good looks, or wealth.

    Category: Idiom

  7. what's what, the true situation; all the facts:

    Ask someone who knows what's what.

    Category: Function Word, Informal, Idiom

* Usage: See doubt.

Origin of what:

bef. 900; ME; OE hwæt, c. OS huat, OHG (h)waz, ON hvat, Go hwa, L quod, Skt kād

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. what(determiner)ʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    used to ask for specific information

    What time is the meeting tomorrow?; What type of food would you like?

  2. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    emphasizes a description

    What a terrible thing to do!; What beautiful children you have.

  3. what(pronoun)ʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    used to ask for specific information

    What do you think she's going to say?; What did you do?

  4. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    the thing that is being talked about

    She told me what had happened.

  5. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    used to ask about the purpose of sth

    What's this money for?; What did you do that for?

  6. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    used to ask why

    "I told them to leave." "What for?"

  7. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    used to introduce a possibility

    What if he doesn't come?; What if we try a different way.

  8. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    indicates you do not think sth is important

    "You left your bike outside." "So what?"

  9. what(interjection)ʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    used to ask sb to repeat sth that you did not hear

    What? Did you say 4,000?

  10. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    indicates you are listening

    "Mom!" "What?" "Can we watch TV now?"

  11. whatʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wət

    indicates surprise or anger

    What! The tickets are sold out?


  1. what(Adverb)

    In some manner or degree; in part; partly; usually followed by with.

    What with singing and joking, the time passed quickly.

  2. what(Adverb)

    Such; this is; that is.

  3. what(Adverb)


  4. what(Adverb)

    Used to introduce each of two coordinate phrases or concepts; both...and.

  5. what(Pronoun)

    which thing, event, circumstance, etc.: used interrogatively in asking for the specification of an identity, quantity, quality, etc.

  6. what(Pronoun)

    An interrogative which asks "Don't you agree?"

    It's rather late, what?

  7. what(Pronoun)

    that; which

  8. what(Pronoun)

    that which; those that; the thing that

  9. what(Interjection)

    which; which kind of.

  10. what(Interjection)

    an expression of surprise or disbelief.

  11. what(Interjection)

    is that not true?

    Itu2019s a nice day, what? (sometimes repeated, e.g.: What-what?)

  12. what(Interjection)

    how much; how great (used in an exclamation)

    Itu2019s a nice day, what? (sometimes repeated, e.g.: What-what?)

  13. Origin: from hwæt, from hwat, from kʷos (which also gave us who).

Webster Dictionary

  1. What

    as an interrogative pronoun, used in asking questions regarding either persons or things; as, what is this? what did you say? what poem is this? what child is lost?

  2. What

    as an exclamatory word: -- (a) Used absolutely or independently; -- often with a question following

  3. What

    used adjectively, meaning how remarkable, or how great; as, what folly! what eloquence! what courage!

  4. What

    sometimes prefixed to adjectives in an adverbial sense, as nearly equivalent to how; as, what happy boys!

  5. What

    as a relative pronoun

  6. What

    used substantively with the antecedent suppressed, equivalent to that which, or those [persons] who, or those [things] which; -- called a compound relative

  7. What

    used adjectively, equivalent to the . . . which; the sort or kind of . . . which; rarely, the . . . on, or at, which

  8. What

    used adverbially in a sense corresponding to the adjectival use; as, he picked what good fruit he saw

  9. What

    whatever; whatsoever; what thing soever; -- used indefinitely

  10. What

    used adverbially, in part; partly; somewhat; -- with a following preposition, especially, with, and commonly with repetition

  11. What(noun)

    something; thing; stuff

  12. What

    why? For what purpose? On what account?


  1. What?

    What? is a 1973 comedy film written and directed by Roman Polanski, starring Marcello Mastroianni, Sydne Rome and Hugh Griffith.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'WHAT' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #53

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'WHAT' in Written Corpus Frequency: #21

Anagrams of WHAT

  1. hawt, thaw, wath

  2. Hawt

  3. Thaw

  4. Wath

Translations for WHAT

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


used in questions etc when asking someone to point out, state etc one or more persons, things etc

What street is this?; What's your name/address / telephone number?; What time is it?; What (kind of) bird is that?; What is he reading?; What did you say?; What is this cake made of?; `What do you want to be when you grow up?' `A doctor.'; Tell me what you mean; I asked him what clothes I should wear.

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